In the very simplest terms, Instructional Designers solve instructional problems. Whether that instructional problem is how to get your materials to your students and get their assessments back to you, helping to create engaging content to help your students learn, or assisting with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, Instructional Designers can be a part of the solution. We work mainly as consultants to assist with building and rebuilding courses for online and hybrid delivery, but we also work with instructors who want to solve a problem or improve a course. In addition, due to our familiarity with learning science, we are helpful collaborators in building new pedagogical techniques such as active learning or digital storytelling in online and face-to-face classes.
I’m not tech-savvy, how much knowledge about computers do I need?
Creating an online course requires knowledge of CarmenCanvas, Zoom or Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft OneDrive. If you need training to use any of the supported tools and software, you can contact an instructional designer. We are available to help you figure out which tools to use in your course and how to best implement them. As you become more comfortable with the technology, we can also introduce you to more innovative tools and transform your course over time.
What if I have technical issues?
Technical issues usually arise in two scenarios: using new technology and technical glitches. When using new technology, preparation is important. Practicing ahead of time allows you to become familiar with the controls and transitions from one platform to the other. It also allows you to find areas in need of troubleshooting and provide students with better instructions before a live session. Instructional designers can help test your tech by reviewing your course assignments and activities and serving as a “test” student in some cases.
When experiencing a technical glitch, make sure you have the CarmenCanvas contact form handy and also share with your students the IT Help Desk web page link and phone number. That way, your students can get help if they experience technical issues on their end.
How do I motivate and engage students in an online environment?
If you feel students working through your course are just “checking off boxes”, you can look for ways to make your content more engaging. There are more methods and protocols for active learning than we can list here, but an instructional designer can help you find something that works for you and your students. Techniques like gamification, active learning strategies, or interactive content can all make a course more engaging to students. Some strategies require weeks of planning and some can be planned within an hour. There is something out there for everyone and working with an instructional designer is your best resource for sorting through the hundreds of methods available.
How can I make my class interesting with such a large class?
Teaching an online course with a large number of students may seem challenging, but you can work with an instructional designer for solutions specific to your course content. There are active learning strategies that can be used to break students into groups and provide opportunities for them to learn from each other. Using the discussion forum tool in CarmenCanvas can provide a space for students to submit questions asynchronously. Other students can answer the question or the instructor can see when more than one student has the same question and can address it there, in the forum, or during the live lecture.
How do I prevent students from cheating?
In an online environment, cheating isn’t as big of a concern as one might think. Studies have shown that cheating occurs as often in in-person settings as in online settings. Exams that happen synchronously cause anxiety and pressure to perform and this increases a student’s temptation to cheat. Whereas asynchronous exams can be approached with less stress and at a time when that student can focus. A relaxed environment increases a student’s ability to recall information, decreases the pressure to perform, and gives the student an opportunity to do their best work.
Changing the way students are assessed can also help. If you use multiple-choice questions, you may want to switch to an assessment that challenges the students to create rather than recall. Essays, presentations, and hands-on projects allow students to apply the lessons learned and create something from them. Grading these with a rubric allows instructors to assess their students differently than with a multiple-choice quiz. LockDown Browser is also a tool that can be used to keep students from browsing the internet during an exam and is available in all CarmenCanvas courses.
The DELD (Distance Education and Learning Design) team offers a variety of services available to you as an instructor. Bookmark Distance Education and Learning Design in the EHE IT Service Catalog for quick access to submitting tickets and requests. Select Design Consultation to set up a consult with an instructional designer. You can also reach out directly to your department’s designated Instructional Designer.
- Educational Studies: Channell Walker (email@example.com) https://go.osu.edu/bookwithchannell
- Human Sciences: Christy McLeod (firstname.lastname@example.org) https://go.osu.edu/bookwithchristy
- Teaching and Learning: Katie O’Keefe (email@example.com) https://go.osu.edu/bookwithkatie